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Spencer v. Arrowood

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 7, 2017

Jeff Spencer, Plaintiff,
v.
Paul Arrowood, Defendant.

          Stephanie Dawkins Davis United States Magistrate Judge.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT [25]

          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge.

         I. Introduction

         On February 5, 2016, Jeff Spencer (“Plaintiff” or “Spencer”) commenced this action against Paul Arrowood, a Michigan State Police Officer (“Defendant or “Arrowood”). Dkt. No. 1, pp. 1-2 (Pg. ID No. 1-2). His Complaint alleges two constitutional violations: an excessive force claim and a claim of unreasonable seizure without probable cause. Id. at 4-6.

         The matter is presently before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, filed May 15, 2017. Dkt. No. 25. Upon review of the pleadings, the Court finds that oral argument will not aid in the disposition of this matter. Accordingly, the Court will decide the matter on the pleadings. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons stated more fully below, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [25].

         II. Background

         On the morning of August 9, 2014, Defendant stopped Plaintiff for driving 65 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. Dkt. No. 25-3, p. 6 (Pg. ID 220). Plaintiff acknowledges that he knew he was speeding at the time of the traffic stop, but blames his speed on his downhill trajectory. Id. at 7. According to Plaintiff's testimony, the interaction during the stop transpired as follows:

He got out of his vehicle, come up to my driver's window, requested for my driver's license. And I asked him why I was being pulled over, as I was being nice and calm, wasn't swearing, wasn't cussing at him, wasn't being hostile, nothing. He asked me for my driver's license again. I asked him why I was being pulled over. He said, “Can I see your driver's license?” I said, “No, not until you tell me the reason why I'm being pulled over.” He said, “You're not going to give it to me.” And I said, “No, until you tell me the reason why I'm being pulled over.”
So he opened my door up, yanked me out of the truck by my left arm, smashed me up against the back of the cab of my truck, threw me in handcuffs, took me back to the front of his car, searched me, got my ID out, went into his car. About five, ten minutes later he comes out, places a ticket down on the hood of his car, said, “I wrote you a ticket for doing 65 in a 55. Do you have any questions?” I said, “Yeah. Is your badge number on there?”

Id. Plaintiff later secured an attorney to plead his speeding citation down to a smaller infraction, a seat belt violation, and paid $65 in fines. Id. at 12.

         III. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) “directs that summary judgment shall be granted if ‘there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.' ” Cehrs v. Ne. Ohio Alzheimer's Research Ctr., 155 F.3d 775, 779 (6th Cir. 1998). The Court must view the facts, and draw reasonable inferences from those facts, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). No genuine dispute of material fact exists where the record “taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party.” Matsushita Elec. Indus., Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Ultimately, the Court evaluates “whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.

         IV. Discussion

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts two claims against Defendant: (1) that Defendant violated his Fourth Amendment rights by using excessive force against him; (2) that Defendant violated his Fourth Amendment rights by seizing him without a warrant or probable cause. Dkt. No. 1, pp. 4-6 (Pg. ID 4-6). Defendant seeks ...


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